What Is Wrong with New York Yankees’ CC Sabathia?

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

New York Yankees’ pitcher CC Sabathia is in the worst stretch of his illustrious career.

He laid another egg last night against AL East rival Tampa Bay Rays. He went five innings, giving up seven runs and nine hits, while walking three and striking out six and took the loss. He is now 9-9 with a 4.65 ERA. If the year ended today, this would be the worst ERA of Sabathia’s career; he had a 4.39 ERA with the Cleveland Indians in his rookie year at age 20, but he also went 17-5.

Here are some other startling stats: This is the first time in Sabathia’s career in which he’s allowed seven plus runs in three straight starts. He is also the only pitcher to accomplish this feat this year. Since 1920, only two other Yankees pitchers have done this–Chien-Ming Wang in 2009 and Red Ruffing in 1934. This is also the fifth time in his career that Sabathia has gone five innings or less in three straight starts.

There has been talk that the reason Sabathia has been struggling is because of his weight loss in the offseason. This weight loss is resulting in his diminished velocity, and henceforth his lack of productivity. I don’t believe this is true.

Sabathia has racked up a lot of mileage in his career, and it is not possible to pitch 95+ mph forever. His lack of velocity is simply due to age and usage. This doesn’t mean he cannot be an effective pitcher anymore. His problem has been his overall command. He can’t miss his spots at this stage, and if he does, his pitches get hit…hard. That’s not just including his fastball. If he hangs a slider, which he has been doing often lately, it gets smacked as well. He just has to grind through this tough stretch, and I think he will because he is a great pitcher, and great pitchers always figure it out.

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